New Dimensions

Satwant Singh Rissam

On 5th August, the Central Government scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. The map of state would now be divided on October 31. While taking away the special status the centre government also took away the statehood. It didn’t end with this, what all has happened after that in Jammu and Kashmir is all new and it was never seen before ever. Initially in Jammu, the movement of people was restricted but people in the Kashmir had worst experience. Although Kashmir was accustomed to the blocking of communication but complete communication blockade was latest move to curtail the anger of few against India. The measures like blocking telephone lines, cable TV and postal services reflected that the centre government had already done its home work on the apprehension that scrapping of special status might stir trouble.
The move of the Narendra Modi led Centre Government on Article 370 has in a way become too much controversial. The entire political leadership in Kashmir has been put under detention and some even taken to Agra in Uttar Pradesh. All political leaders are in jail including three former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti. The separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal too are in same condition. No political voice is left to be heard or seen anywhere in Kashmir. The detention of Farooq Abdullah, a strong voice of Jammu and Kashmir in the country and outside, under PSA is like a new message with a warning to all political leaders under detention. This thing has furthered the debate that in near future PSA could be imposed on many more leaders who resist the detention in any way. Moreover, this step taken in Kashmir politics could bring a political vacuum like never-before which may shape new and grave dangers. It is yet not clear as to when the restrictions will be lifted completely and what would happen after that in Kashmir.
One thing that has emerged very clearly is that Jammu region and Kashmir region are interdependent. The example of it is that after 5th August the tourists from Jammu has disappeared and it has resulted in huge loss to hoteliers, restaurant owners, transporters and the fruit traders from Jammu who have invested in Kashmir. Every business community in Jammu has suffered losses in crores after 5th August because of the restrictions implemented by the centre government in Kashmir region. A three-day global investor’s summit which was announced in the state by the administration was also cancelled. The removal of special status has heightened tensions between Jammu and Kashmir and even between Leh and Kargil.
The agenda to dissolve special status of Jammu and Kashmir by BJP was never a secret but an old promise. However, the sudden cancellation of special status has brought out consequences that were difficult to predict. This all has also raised many questions over the Indian Government at international arena, in shape of human rights violations done in Kashmir, by keeping people under restrictions for almost two months. Although the country celebrated the scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir but the attempts to bring peace by denying basic human rights won’t win hearts. 30 years ago the Kashmir region went into self destruction mode with onset of militancy which also created tussle between Kashmir and New Delhi. Now, the whole scenario appears to show that situation in Jammu and Kashmir could be pushed into more problematic zone if situation in Kashmir doesn’t improve in next few weeks. In past 5 years, the issue of regional problem in Jammu and Kashmir has taken shape of communal problem with all the efforts of political parties only for gaining politically. It has become a tough situation with new dimensions for the centre government and no one knows what awaits Jammu and Kashmir in future.
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